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When Google does it…

Ron  Hogan points us to Google Introduces Web Page Creator.

Sure, this sort of thing exists. But googlified, it’s more likely to spread, to be adopted and to add even more clutter! WPC means that the last boundary to having a web page (or even having your cat have a web page) goes away.

Trigger finger

Had conversations over the last 48 hours with not one but three companies that are triumphant victors in viral marketing. All three have lots of success and credibility and leverage in marketing themselves person to person.

and all three want to grow

and all three are very close to spending big bucks on ads and salesforces to force the growth to happen faster.

As soon as they start using the tactics of the other guys, playing the game they play, they become them. As soon as they decide that they can buy (not earn) attention, it all changes.

It’s so easy to respond to growth pressure by pulling that trigger. Tempting, but not worth it.

Sell side job marketing

Jeff Clark is right out of school. Rather than making average resumes to send to lots of companies to get past computer screeners so he could get an average job, he built a website. I Hired Jeff Clark! Jeff Clark is looking for a marketing job….

Sign of things to come.

PS Lots of mail criticizing Jeff’s grammar, attention to detail, etc. I didn’t post his site because it’s perfect. I posted it because he’s doing something that’s easy, probably effective and a sign of things to come. More to come, I’m sure.

Free for now, free forever

Mark Ramsey points out that the new show from the creator of Law and Order will debut on iTunes, for free. (Radio Marketing Nexus)

It’s hard to see this is a one-time temporary stunt. As iTunes gets crowded, promotions will increase and prices will drop. Getting people to PAY attention is enough for most media companies.

Organic web growth

for those curious about this post, the answer, of course, is wikipedia.

I hate it when people on the radio say "of course" before they tell you something. If it’s obvious, don’t bother telling me! So, sorry about the "of course".

Lawyers don’t get enough gifts

Here’s a watch that marks the time in six minute increments… the way lawyers bill: Lawyer Gift – The Billable Hourâ„¢ – Clever Timepieces for Lawyers.

The culture of dissatisfaction

Las Vegas is an epicenter of a trend that is accelerating through every market and community on Earth.

A rapid increase in dissatisfaction.

If you don’t have enough money, you can fix it by gambling. It’s okay to be dissatisfied with your job and your boss and your income, because someone in Vegas has more, and they got it the easy way. I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve got record PowerBall prizes and record PowerBall sales.

If you don’t have a beautiful, thin, buxom wife with flaxen hair (or an intelligent, tall, dark-haired husband with washboard abs), it’s obvious that you can find someone better at the strip clubs and revues in town.

Porn and its variants (tech-porn included) often trains people to be dissatisfied. Apple hasn’t even shipped my MacBook yet, and they already upgraded it for free–but I’m still dissatisfied (now there’s an even faster option!).

We’re using electronic media to spread this benchmarking message far and wide. Because there’s always a company offering a better or cheaper or faster product, or a person who’s more clever than Oprah or cuter than Tyra, it’s easy to shop around, to demand more, to be constantly dissatisfied.

Every day I get angry email (not angry with me, fortunately, but angry nonetheless) from consumers of all kinds complaining about perceived slights in customer service. Looked at with a clear eye, most of these complaints don’t make a lot of sense. Yes, the correspondence could have been a lot more thoughtful, but these are organizations that are largely doing a great job, at a great price. Doesn’t matter. Someone else is often more, faster, better, now.

The problem with this emerging culture, aside from the fact that we’re unhappy all the time, is that it doesn’t give marketers a chance to build products for the long haul, to invest in the processes and products and even operating systems that pay off over time. The problem is that when brands fizz out so fast, it’s hard to invest in anything except building the next hot brand.

Is there an answer?

Talk to people who live in Vegas and you’ll discover that most of the hard-working folks who have been here more than a decade (the cab drivers and the doctors and the rest) aren’t so swayed by the billboards and the promises. Instead, they embrace the qualities that come from relationships. A relationship with a front-line worker (ask for "Bob")  or a relationship with a provider or an organization that has come through for them.

It seems to me that insulation from discontent comes from building a relationship. From real people. Relationships that make us feel counted upon, respected, trusted and valued cut through the ennui of dissatisfaction. We got ourselves into this mess by acting like smart marketers, and as marketers we can get out of it by acting like people.

The John Barleycorn Treatment

From the folk song:

They wasted o’er a scorching flame
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones.

Apparently, the prospect of a computer logging in is so, so terribly horrible that Ticketmaster (and others) have made it so that only a computer could possibly read the code words.

I tried to do a parody, below:

… but I failed to do something as broken and bleeding as the actual test that Ticketmaster wanted me to pass. It’s as if they took the John Barleycorn torture process and applied it to a made-up word.

Other than the fact that they have a monopoly, is there anything at all about their site that keeps them in business? If you sell something online, go to Ticketmaster… then do the opposite.

Here’s the "real" test. If you didn’t already feel stupid on their site, now you do:


Middlemen, radio and sharks

JACK FM, it turns out, will email you about your favorite songs. Thanks to all who wrote in.

But it got me thinking about shark.

Had shark for dinner last night. $10 a pound and totally worth it. Really fresh and delicious.

The fisherman, of course, was lucky to make a buck a pound. And all those middlemen added little in terms of value (they cut it, of course, and kept it cool, and allowed me to buy it midday, but they also added several days to the process of getting it from the dock to me).

What if the fisherman had my preferences and just let me know when he had a good haul? I could meet his truck at Union Square and buy direct, fresh, for $5.

Twice as efficient, twice as fresh.

No, of course it’s not going to happen soon, because fishermen like being fishermen and don’t want to deal with all of these hassles.

But the new middlemen are going to be a lot more efficient than the old ones! And the key asset that will allow them to wipe out the status quo is permission.

Bits are free

It doesn’t cost anything more to deliver a thoughtful, powerful, profitable note. It just takes guts to write one.

Jonathan Cruce shares this (edited, a bit, by me):

He wrote this note to a company, via online form:

Product Model: 2461 Serial : Comments: I have a Gigaphone 2461. After my
1 year old son pressed some of the buttons on the handset and base, I
find that the phone is dialing in pulse mode.  The manual shows a
tone/pulse switch on the bottom of the base unit.  My base unit has no
tone/pulse switch.  How can I switch the phone back to tone dialing
mode??  Thanks!

Company’s response via email

Dear Jonathan,
Thank you for your recent inquiry to our Consumer Sales and Service
Keep the original email attached with our response in case further
assistance is needed.
The Tone/Pulse switch is located at the bottom of the base unit.
However, if there is no switch, you may try this short procedure on your
base unit:
1.) Press and hold the [SELECT] button.
2.) The display on the base unit will display TN (Tone) or PU (Pulse).
3.) If you see PU on the display, press and hold [SELECT] again.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
VTech Communications
Consumer Sales and Service Center

* Click the following link to visit our online store for
all of your telephone and accessory needs!

* Your product may qualify for the VTech Product Protection Plan.
Click the link below for more information.

But what, Jonathan wants to know, if the letter had said:

Dear Jonathan,

I really appreciate that you purchased a VTech phone, and I’m truly sorry
that you’re having this problem.  You indicated that there is no
tone/pulse switch on the bottom of your base unit as shown in the owner’s

You’re right! This isn’t the first time we’ve run into this issue; it appears
that when we updated the phone model we didn’t update the owner’s manual.

We try hard to catch these errors, but every once in a while one gets
through.  You can switch your base between pulse and tone mode by holding
down the "Select" button for a couple of seconds.  The display on the base
unit will read "TN" if you’re in tone dialing mode, and "PU" if you’re in
pulse dialing mode. Just press and hold "Select" again if you need to
change between modes.

Once again, I’m sorry that our owner’s manual was not updated to reflect
this change.  If there’s anything else I can do for you, just let me know!

Joan Smith, VTech Customer Service Guru

By the way Jonathan, I noticed that you’re using an older model 2.4 GHz
phone system.  If this is working for you, that’s great!  We expect these
phones to be around for a while.  But with more and more wireless devices
using the 2.4 GHz spectrum, you may begin experiencing interference on
your line.  Unfortunately we can’t do anything about that on a 2.4 GHz
system, but we have a sale coming up on the newer 5.8 GHz digital spread
spectrum phones, that will let you talk clearly up to 1/2 mile from your
house!  Go to www.vtech.com to see what’s available.  Put in the code
JSVT234 and I’ll give you 20% off any phone we offer!

Same amount of time to send, same incremental cost. It’s easier to write if you you imagine that you are writing to a person, not a screen, I think.

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